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Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
86 208874 Apr 24, 2012
Recommended By Average Price
97% of reviewers $5,514.13
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.91
8.75
9.9
ef500mmf_4_1_

Specifications:
Next-generation super telephoto L-series lens with an Image Stabilizer, it's one of the world's best lenses for wildlife and nature photography. The optical system is newly designed with a maximum aperture of f/4. One fluorite element and two UD-glass elements effectively correct aberrations resulting in sharp and excellent delineation.


 


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busterboy
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Registered: Apr 28, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 77
Review Date: Feb 3, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: This lens is everything you read about it. Tack sharp, Beautiful contrast, Lighting fast AF for 500mm
Cons:
If I had to have a negative it would be the price here in the UK. Not Canons fault but the goverment but at the end of the day you get quality, You have to pay for it.

I have had its baby brother the 300mm f/2.8L IS for 3 years now and didn't think it could be matched, This awesome beast matches it in every aspect.
Works with both 1.4x and 2x converters and my prints at A3 have to be seen to be believed.
Quite a heavy lens but can be handheld for a decent sequence of shots before you tire, Using a monopod is a dream with perfect balance mounted on the lens foot, Make sure you have a sturdy monopod as the cheap models are definitely not for this lens.

I have marked this lens as I think it duly deserves. 10/10 in every aspect. I love it.


Feb 3, 2007
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Thang
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Registered: Jan 25, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 8530
Review Date: Jan 17, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: 500 4.5L (older version) - handholdable all day at only 6.6lbs, great IQ, fast AF.
Cons:
Canon doesn't service this lens (older version) anymore. F/4.5 --> central AF point on 1D bodies with 1.4xTC only.

My review is of the older version f/4.5L lens. IQ from this lens is superb. AF is fast but hunt a little when goes from infinity to minimum AF distance. Unfortunately, Canon does not service this lens anymore. Otherwise, I would have loved to keep it but sold it recently to save for the newer IS version.

With TC, this lens will only AF with center AF point on the 1d bodies. It's only 6.6lbs so it's great for long hike and handhold. I used it exclusively w/o tripod for wildlife (birds) photography. Here are some images taken with this lens and 1DII. All were handheld...

http://www.pbase.com/tnt_imaging/image/62169554/original
http://www.pbase.com/tnt_imaging/image/62166472/original
http://www.pbase.com/tnt_imaging/image/68233176/original
http://www.pbase.com/tnt_imaging/image/61238515/original
http://www.pbase.com/tnt_imaging/image/60831240/original
http://www.pbase.com/tnt_imaging/image/63692504/original
http://www.pbase.com/tnt_imaging/image/68073523/original


Jan 17, 2007
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Desert_Watcher
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Registered: Jun 15, 2006
Location: Kuwait
Posts: 416
Review Date: Jan 14, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Faaaast AF in a crazy way, amazingly sharp , soild , all weather proof and of suitable weight
Cons:
Non at all, and you wont found

I'm in love with this lens, it's one of the best conon's inventions. The IS is so effective, very fast AF and extremly sharp i prefere it over the EF 600mm, coze i can shot with it handheld, it's of very suitable size and weight regarding to what it can deliver, if you have the money just go for it with hesitations.

Jan 14, 2007
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Brian Hansen
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Registered: Jan 11, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 1393
Review Date: Dec 29, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Super sharp, great AF (considering you set the focus distance switch correctly) good color and contrast. Just an incredible piece of glass.
Cons:
If there is a negative it is the price although consider all the elements, IS and build it is questionable how Canon could sell it for less.

I dreamed about owning this lens for a year was finally able to make it happen. It is everything I expected and more. Before I had the tripod setup (Gitzo 1325 & full Wimberley) I shot it handheld on about 4 outings. While heavy it is handholdable. The handheld photos came out very sharp which is a testiment to the AF and the IS. Also shot quite a few with the EF 1.4X II Teleconverter. You cannot tell the difference in image quality with and without this on. I am awaiting a 2X so hopefully the performance with that will be close to the 1.4X.

After buying it I have not had one second of remorse. I can already tell it will give me the confidence to shoot wildlife I normally wouldn't have gone after and to go to places I wouldn't have traveled to find that wildlife.

All I can say is if you shoot wildlife and can afford it - buy it.


Dec 29, 2006
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eeprete
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Registered: Jun 4, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 3733
Review Date: Dec 8, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: ability to be handheld, works well with a gimbal style head, portability is excellent.
Cons:
none.

If you are interesting in birding or similar wildlife subjects, there is no better lens then that 500/F4 IS. While there is the longer 600mm/F4, this lens is able to be handheld regularly while having the portability and ease of use that no other lens in this class offers.

The build quality and construction are first rate and can handling the most demanding of environments.

It performance is excellent with both the 1.4 and 2X converters, and I've even used them both stacked on several occasions.

My only regret was not getting one sooner.


Dec 8, 2006
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shornet
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Registered: Oct 24, 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 258
Review Date: Nov 21, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,499.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp! AF is fast! IS do works.
Cons:
Expensive, Heavy.

Bought this lens from BH for my 2006 air show season. AF is super fast and work very well with 1.4 XII. Image quality is really sharp even attached with 1.4 XII.

Canon EF 500L IS F4.0 weighs about 8.5 lbs. It is just little bit heavy for hand-holding type shoots. I probably can hold this lens relative stablely by hand for 15-20s. During the windy day, it become more difficult.

This is some my air show pictures with this lens
http://www.pbase.com/shornet



Nov 21, 2006
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hooookup
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Registered: Sep 13, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 387
Review Date: Nov 9, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,250.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast, Sharp, IS
Cons:
price

I bought this lens from Samy's Camera in Orange County in March and it has been attached to my camera ever since. I bought it primarily to shoot surfing but have used it to shoot motorsports, football, baseball and concerts. It's worth every penny and then some. Best purchase I have ever made.

Nov 9, 2006
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Lasse Eriksson
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Registered: Sep 13, 2006
Location: Sweden
Posts: 2773
Review Date: Sep 22, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build, Image quality, Sharpness, Contrast & Colour
Cons:
Expensive, Heavy

A fantastic lens that will be very sharp even with extenders

Sep 22, 2006
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epphoto
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Registered: Apr 24, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 5137
Review Date: Jul 31, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,299.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Shar,Sarp,Sharp. Build like a tank, weather-resistant
Cons:
Nothing really expect Big/heavy

Amazing lens... Focus is very fast, image quality is sharp and colorful. Works nicely with 1.4x and 2x extenders and it is weather-resistant I love my well worth the money i have spent.
This is some Pictures with this lens

http://www.pbase.com/epphoto/animals


Jul 31, 2006
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vachss
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Registered: Oct 9, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 1381
Review Date: Jul 21, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,600.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IS makes a tremendous difference at this focal length.
Cons:
Big/heavy enough to dissuade me from bringing it on strenuous hikes.

I had the earlier non-IS Canon 500/4.5 for about a year before upgrading to the 500/4. While both of these lenses are capable of producing excellent images wide open, I can't emphasize enough how much of an improvement in usability the image stabilization provides. With the 4.5 I found it necessary to employ immaculate long lens technique to avoid motion blur. With the 500/4 I can get equally sharp results while being much sloppier. The ability to swing the lens loose on a gimbal or monopod - or even use it hand held (albeit well braced) greatly improved my flexibility at the same time my keeper rate went way up.

All other impressions are similar to those given by other reviewers.


Jul 21, 2006
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Daguerre999
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Registered: Nov 8, 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 340
Review Date: Jul 4, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Razor-sharp. Little difference between wide-open and stoped down. AF / IS all its cracked up to be. 400% enlargements? No problem! An absolute gem. One of the worlds best optics.
Cons:
Heavy - so what!

Other than it's weight, there is no downside to this lens. If you are after sports, wildlife or birds, it simply cannot be beat! perhaps the 600 has more reach, but the 500 is hand-holdable for a couple of shots at a time. I've tried it on both film and digital (30D) and it handles both with ease. I thought that moving from an FD 400 2.8L, it might be a bit of a let-down. No. Its as good as they say, and maybe a bit better.
It comes at a price, but its more than worth it.


Jul 4, 2006
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swormley
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Registered: Feb 15, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 5, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,499.95 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent performer
Cons:
Not much

As many know, the optics and function are superb.

What a remarkably good combination of balance and agility!
o EF 500mm F4L IS USM (with an EOS 5D)
o Wimberley Sidekick
o RRS BH-55
o Gitzo series 3 or 4 tripod

Almost as graceful as handholding EF 85mm F1.2L on an EOS 5D.
Not only applicable for wild life, but this lens allows me to
capture the emotion and artistry of musicians at rehreasal (and
performance) in the concert hall. The lens is outstanding for
creating artistic compositions in nature--trees, leaves,
critters and backgrounds that are uniquely available with
quality long lenses.

Some setup required.



Jun 5, 2006
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julfleg
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Registered: Apr 1, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 4, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: This lense is a dream to work with. Very sharp lense.
Cons:
none

I've been using this lense for about one month and am very satisfied with the results.

Jun 4, 2006
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JetwashImages
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Registered: Jan 24, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 40
Review Date: May 30, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,499.95 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp sharp SHARP...STILL SHARP with the Canon 1.4x extender. Excellent Contrast. Awesome build quality. Image Stabilization. Uber Alles!
Cons:
Notta

Not much to say about this lens that hasn't been said. It's a dream. I use this lens handheld, mainly for aviation such as airshows and military exercises. It does get heavy after a while, but, you will get used to it. I have only used it on the 20D but look forward to using it on my new 30D here soon. If you are not using a 1 srs body, I highly recommend a battery grip for your body for better balance. It just "feels right". Highly recommend this lens to anyone who can afford it.

http://www.jetwashimages.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10002/EA6B161885NJK21JAN06-11.jpg


May 30, 2006
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foxfire235
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Registered: Oct 8, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 505
Review Date: May 1, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,499.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp at f/4, excellent results with 1.4x, smaller and lighter then I imagined, definately hand-holdable (probably only for short periods of time though)
Cons:
This isn't really a con, but there are only a couple of options as far as tripod heads go, and you should budget yourself an additional $800 - $1K to spend on a pro setup from wimberly or RRS in order to mount this thing.

one word... amazing. When i opened the case, the first thing that came to mind was "this smells like a new car" It was a wonderful feeling to finally own my dream lens...

May 1, 2006
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Pitonosaure
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Registered: Jun 14, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 2
Review Date: Mar 14, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, sharp, sharp and sharp again! Very fast focus! Quality of construction.
Cons:
Heavy? well not that much! I can handle it! Price? well, yes and no...depends of you priority in life.

I have this lens for two weeks now, was able to make some test and wow, pictures are so sharp, it reveals the real and full potential of the CMOS sensor on my EOS 20D, even my 10D!
Before making some test, I was thinking of changing my 1.4x and 2x extenders, but after looking to the shots I made with those two old extenders, I don't think I'll need de new II versions!
Focus is very fast, accurate and the sharpness in incredible!!!
Chromatic abberation with this lens? What chromatic abberation? You're kidding...right?
Quality of construction is imppeccable, it is truly a remarquable and exeptionnal lens in any way.
Ok, it is a little bit heavy, but who cares? with a good monopod and little practice, you will eventualy forget about it.
Handling this baby will become a second nature and you will enjoy the full experience of working with it!

Pitonosaure


Mar 14, 2006
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Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
86 208874 Apr 24, 2012
Recommended By Average Price
97% of reviewers $5,514.13
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.91
8.75
9.9
ef500mmf_4_1_


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